Bigger is always better in the minds of NBA GMs.
Plenty of lip service is paid to the importance of the point guard to a team, yet GMs with the number one overall pick tend to grab a big man over a little man 9 times out of 10. Things appear to be changing. With Derrick Rose going first overall in the 2008 draft (the first pure point guard to go number one overall since Magic Johnson in 1979 – unless you consider Allen Iverson a point) and the emergence of Chris Paul and Deron Williams as franchise-changing point men, picking a little guy first overall isn’t as much of a taboo as before. This year’s crop of points, many of which will be playing overseas this season, appear to be fairly solid, with a couple of potential game changers at the top of the board.
Here’s Draft 365’s preseason rankings of the top point guard prospect expected to be picked in next June’s draft.
1. Ricky Rubio – Spain – 1990
Plenty has been written about Rubio in this space over the past couple of weeks that we’re risking inflicting a Rubio overdose on the readers.
His play in the Olympics for Spain might help decide whether or not he hears his name called first by David Stern next summer. Rubio started off strong against Greece, scoring seven points in just 13 minutes off the bench.
2. Brandon Jennings – Italy – 1989
We’ll get more in depth on Jennings in upcoming columns, but his combo of scoring and passing ability makes him a primo point prospect.
His experience playing in Italy and the Euroleague this season will give him a leg up on the other point guard contenders, as he should have a unique mix of American and European flavors to his game.
3. Ty Lawson – North Carolina – JR
The little big man returns to a packed UNC squad that looks like heavy favorites to cut down the nets next April.
His lack of height is a detriment to his draft stock, but he helps offset it with his strength and second-to-none speed. He’ll need to improve his finishing at the basket if he hopes to remain a lottery pick.
4. Darren Collison – UCLA – SR
While Ben Howland’s program was hit hard with the early departures to the NBA of Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, he must have breathed a sigh of relief when Collison decide to go back to Cali.
While he is a bit thin and has an unorthodox J, he’ll be the most experienced and winningest point man in the draft.
5. Eric Maynor – VCU – SR
Maynor first popped onto the general hoops fan’s radar in 2007 when he led the Rams to a first round upset of mighty Duke in the NCAA tourney. He’s proven to be a solid scorer, distributor and rebounder for a point guard, but playing in the Colonial Athletic Association he hasn’t played the level of competition the men above him in this list have on a consistent basis.
Next in line: Nick Calathes, Florida; Nando De Colo, France; Rodrique Beaubois, France; A.J. Price, UConn; Grievis Vasquez, Maryland.
Next Column: Top 5 Shooting Guards